The Dynamics of Lexical Innovation. Data, Methods, Models

LMU Munich
28 - 30 June 2017

Workshop programme

Book of Abstracts


  • Professor Hans-Jörg Schmid, Chair of Modern English Linguistics
  • Dr Daphné Kerremans
  • Dr Jelena Prokić
  • Quirin Würschinger

Workshop description

(PDF version)

The fate of lexical innovations is not predetermined. Some nonce-formations, coined at the spur of the moment, remain ephemeral and are never used again. Others manage to spread and gain a certain degree of currency, but never make it into the common vocabulary shared by most speakers and disappear from active use after a brief period of time. Yet others diffuse rapidly and become permanent additions to the lexicon. The dynamics of these diffusion processes, and the factors influencing the extent to which new words become conventionalized have not been investigated systematically so far.

The workshop ‘The Dynamics of Lexical Innovation: Data, Methods, Models’ plans to provide a forum for research that investigates how lexical innovations diffuse in speech communities, domains of usage, media and text types and tries to determine which factors play a role in this process. The workshop focuses on challenges involved in data acquisition, on methodological and technical aspects, and on theoretical and computational models of lexical innovation and diffusion processes. More concretely, the organizers welcome papers on the following issues and questions, among others:

  • How can neologisms be detected as close to their moment of coinage as possible?
  • How can their spread be monitored systematically?
  • What are suitable dependent variables for measuring the diffusion of lexical innovations and how can they be operationalized?
  • Which sources are particularly useful for detecting neologisms and how can data retrieval procedures be implemented?
  • What are the factors that co-determine the time course and pathways of the conventionalization of lexical innovations?
  • Which types of models provide a systematic account of the process of lexical innovation and adequately predict the effects of the factors influencing this process?


We invite abstracts for a 20-minute presentation on topics relevant to the workshop’s central issues and questions. Case studies on selected phenomena are also welcome if they allow for generalizations relating to the dynamics of lexical innovation and the mechanisms underlying their spread.

Abstracts of max. 500 words should be sent to by 1 March 2017. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 15 March 2017.

Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Pragmatics & Cognition in 2018.

For further information please contact Dr Daphné Kerremans at

Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: Quirin Würschinger